The Battlefield franchise would have to be the most successful war-themed first-person shooter ever. While the likes of Call of Duty go for unrealistic game modes and weapons, Battlefield prides itself on being realistic in the weapons it allows you to use, game mechanics, firing rates and environments you find yourself in.
If you were an avid player of Battlefield 3, then you’ll notice there isn’t all that much difference on the surface of Battlefield 4 until you start to discover the sometimes subtle differences between the two.
In Battlefield 4 one of the biggest changes is the interface. The new deployment screen with deploy cam and better map are immediately welcome additions. Whilst playing I often found myself observing a helicopter spawn until a pilot hopped in and then I would deploy as a gunner because I am not a very good flyer and people tend to get annoyed at “noob pilots”. It also prevents you from spawning on a squad member who is about to be wiped out by a tank. Even the loadout screen where you customise your weapons and vehicles has been redesigned, it feels and looks much nicer.
Last seen in Battlefield 2, commander mode returns with a few improvements. In Battlefield 4 the commander won’t be found on the battlefield but rather spending their time dropping crates of ammo and giving orders. It’s the kind of role you’ll find yourself getting tired of pretty quickly, but at the same time, it’s a cool feature to see returned.
The gameplay mechanics, graphics and environments have been completely revamped and improved.
You will find yourself having to relearn how to play Battlefield 4 if you were an avid Battlefield 3 player. The recoil of every gun has been modified (in many cases reduced) and bullet trajectories seem to react differently than they did in BF3. As a result of the new mechanics people will spend the first few hours dying… A LOT. Coupled with issues of one and two-shotting going on, you’ll find this will be a frequent occurence. Much like they were in the beta, RPG’s are still in my opinion overpowered (maybe this is to make them more realistic).
Battlefield 4 thanks to the Frostbite 3 engine created for the game has much more realistic environments. Buildings collapse and fall spreading debris, dam walls break flooding maps and more. The maps now feel more life like in that how they function and look can now be controlled by player actions and weather events. In Paracel Storm if you find yourself on the water, when the weather worsens the waves throw around your boat rather realistically, the water looks great.
Thanks to a feature DICE refer to as levolution, maps are living and breathing highly dynamic creatures. The weather changes, buildings fall and other little touches like being able to close doors on railway cars, raise bollards on bridges and more. It’s a cool feature, but I wish they took it further as to me it seems rather unrealistic that a rocket to a concrete wall of a building doesn’t destroy it. Mostly everything should be destroyable, hopefully next-gen consoles push levolution further.
Things I would love to see push levolution further are destructible bridges, being able to set traps, natural occurrences like sandstorms, forest fires, hail, tornadoes and earthquakes. There are still no decent maps to use night time scopes on, in Battlefield 3 the night time like maps were too bright.
If you found flying difficult in Battlefield 3 that’s because at the start it was. In Battlefield 4 however flying mechanics have been tweaked, it’s now easier for a pro or novice to jump in the pilots seat of a UH-1Y Venom helicopter and cause mayhem or even an FA-18 Hornet jet.
Tanks and other anti-ground/air units have also been given some improvements. Watching the suspension on a ground vehicle react to hills and obstacles is way more realistic, firing heavy shells from tanks have slightly better accuracy (taking down helicopters is even easier now). And on both sides of the fence, vital unlocks like smoke and flares are included straight-up so no unfair advantage of flying and being taken down because you can’t defend yourself like in BF3.
Every Battlefield game has had its fair share of bugs and Battlefield 3 was one of the worse, but Battlefield 4 takes the cake. Many people including myself have found it difficult to play the game for any longer than one match (if you’re lucky to get a whole match). AMD users seem to encounter more bugs than their NVIDIA counterparts (upgrading to the AMD beta drivers and running Windows 8 helps dramatically).
Here are a list of bugs to be found in the game:
- Battlefield crashes completely (process crashes) and you lose your stats — Running the Battlefield 4 process in compatibility mode as Windows 7 seems to help fix this issue
- Red screen of death — Some AMD users will encounter the game crashing to a bright red screen and then their computer resets. Upgrading to the latest AMD drivers fixes this issue
- Server crashes — This is an issue with the server and not something a client-side fix that address, EA are supposedly looking into this
- Server rubber banding — Quite regularly (some maps and servers worse than others) in 64 player games even with perfect ping below 30, the game rubber bands heavily (things jumping around)
- Sound out of sync/missing — Some maps worse than others, the sound will drop in and out.
- Frame rate drops — Thanks to the levolution feature, some maps when a levolution feature is triggered causes widespread frame rate drops for all players. AMD players once again experience this worse than others.
Battlefield 4 is the best Battlefield game yet. It looks visually stunning, it’s more engaging and no doubt will be hard to top when Battlefield 5 comes out. There are a lot of bugs, but give it a month and hopefully they are sorted (just like they were in Battlefield 3).
Rating: 9 out of 10.